Romance on a Plate: biscuit glace aux noisettes

Biscuit Glace aux Noisettes

Sara of i like to cook is the host of this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge with a Red and White theme for #18 and I am committed to joining in.  Trying to keep track of all the cooking events is a challenge for me, so this is the first WCC I’ve entered.

To make sure all my bases were covered with the theme, I chose a recipe I’ve been dying to try over for years from The Mirabelle Cookbook by Marco Pierre White.  Mirabelle is a famous restaurant in London owned by Marco Pierre White that has quite a history — almost as colorful as that of White himself.  In the cookbook, White shares old menus and restaurant history.  He also shares his philosophy on the food served in his restaurant, the recipes in his cookbook, and the accessibility for the home cook who is interested in preparing truly fine food.  He states,

“But my aim is to encourage you, as you gain confidence, to move on from these {simpler recipes listed} to the slightly more complicated recipes which really do repay the extra effort.” 

I found this cookbook browsing for something that would help me with a dinner party I was preparing for, and I couldn’t pass it up. Every recipe has an accompanying enormous glossy photo printed on thick, over-sized pages.  It is a truly perfect cook book for when you want to add that special extra touch.  I love looking at this book, but I don’t often cook from it.  Why?  Not only because cooking extravagantly can be expensive, but because the measurements and ingredients are a bit odd to work with.  I have to stop and wonder about what caster sugar is (super fine sugar), demerara (raw cane sugar), double cream (heavy cream) or work a bit harder to measure out dry ounces.  It takes me a bit longer, but I get the job done.

The great aspect of this cookbook is a section in the back called “Basics.”  There are 33 basic recipes for  items such as raspberry coulis, fish stock, tomato sauce, mayonnaise, pistou, and pomme fondant.  White refers to these basics over and over again throughout the recipes in this book.  It’s quite handy.

Had I only known how excellent this dessert was going to be — and how easy to make, I truly would have gotten on the ball sooner.  Sometimes I amaze myself with my procrastination problem.  This is a completely fabulous treat if you have someone you want to knock the socks off of.  We won’t talk about the calories, though.  Or the fat.  Does it count that there is fruit?  And nuts?  If you have a picky eater, or someone who is allergic to the nuts, I can see how they could easily be omitted. 

It’s really worth it to give this recipe a try.

You will truly enjoy it… a recipe by White of cream and meringue with red raspberry coulis.


Romance on a Plate: biscuit glace aux noisettes

Serves 12

425 g (15 oz) caster sugar
15 g (1/2 oz) shelled hazelnuts
6 egg whites
450 ml (16 fl oz) double cream
8 portions raspberry coulis (Basic 31)
60 fresh raspberries
12 sprigs mint

1.  Line a terrine measuring 30 x 7.5 cm (12 x 3 in) with greaseproof paper, and put in the freezer at its coldest setting.
2.  Make the praline as follows.  Heat 150 g (5 oz) of the sugar in a pan until it melts and begins to make a caramel.  Stir in the hazelnuts.  Pour the mixture on to a cold, oiled tray to set, and when it is hard, crush it into pieces.
3.  Whip the egg whites and gradually add the remaining sugar to make a stiff meringue.  Separately whip the cream until it makes stiff peaks.  Then fold the whipped cream into the meringue and mix in the crushed praline.
4.  Fill the ice-cold terrine to the top with the biscuit mixture, and place it back in the freezer until hard.
5.  Meanwhile, make the raspberry coulis.
6.  To serve, remove the terrine from the freezer and the biscuit from the terrine.  Cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) slices.  Put a slice on each plate, surround with raspberry coulis, and decorate each portion with 5 raspberries and a sprig of mint.

Raspberry Coulis

4 portions

225 g (8 oz) fresh raspberries
75 g (3 0z) icing sugar

1.  Place the raspberries in a bowl and cover with the sugar.  Leave for a while for the sugar to begin pulling out the fruit juices.
2.  Puree the mixture, then pass through a fine sieve to catch all the seeds.  Chill.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used almonds since hazelnuts weren’t available, so I guess my recipe would be called biscuit glace aux amonds.  I made this in the early afternoon thinking it would be firm enough to serve at 9PM, and it wasn’t.  It really needs to be in the freezer over night.
  • I used plastic wrap to line the inside of a basic metal loaf pan which worked just fine.
  • I used a chinoise to strain the raspberry coulis because it takes forever when I use my strainer.  A few seeds get through, but it isn’t a tragedy. My husband buys me cool utensils for my birthday or Christmas because he knows I enjoy them.  What a nice guy, huh?
  • I beat the cream first and scooped it into a bowl to sit while I beat the egg whites.  If you do this, make absolutely sure all the fat from the cream is removed before beating the whites.  I also used egg whites I had frozen and thawed.  They came out perfect!
  • For the praline, I poured it onto a piece of parchment I sprayed with oil.  It only takes about 10 minutes for the mixture to cool and harden.  To crush it, I folded the edges of the parchment over the mixand used my rolling pin, striking it until the pieces were the size I wanted.